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Shiny Side Up: The Big Snow Biz Shakeup

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In the last 24 months, there have been some pretty big things happening in the snowmobile business! The biggest news was the Textron takeover of Arctic Cat. Textron then decided to pull Arctic Cat out of the brand new building that Cat just began occupying after a massive remodeling project in downtown Minneapolis. Textron also stripped Arctic Cat badging off of the dirt (ATV and SBS) line and put those vehicles under the Textron Off-Road family. We are still not sure if any of these decisions are good or bad necessarily for the snow biz, but after years of the status quo, that was a lot of news in just a short time.

The Textron merger also came on the heels of news that Yamaha was restructuring its North American management for snowmobiles and ATV/SBS. The Yamaha snowmobile division and North American corporate folks are now headquartered in Toronto, Canada, and they speak directly to the mothership in Japan. That’s not how it used to be, as there were other layers in place in Wisconsin and California, so certainly that news was a shake-up for Yamaha. Ski-Doo also closed its facility in Wausau, Wis., consolidating employees into a larger presence in Sturtevant. Ski-Doo is leveraging the E-TEC side even more at the Sturtevant facility, where the Evinrude G2 E-TEC motors are made.

Shortly before that, Polaris acquired two big-name gear brands in Klim and 509, while Arctic Cat acquired Motorfist.

Whew! That’s a lot of changes for our small industry! Oh, and smaller sleds are finally being produced to help kids stay in the sport and transition to full-size machines … how’s that for leading off snowmobiling’s #1 Buyers Guide?

Mark Boncher, Editor
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